You may already know that Italy wasn’t a country of its own until 1861. But some things have always united us: our love for food, respect for tradition, and great joy when the two come together. And there is no better place to experience this than in one of the oldest restaurants in Florence.
More than anywhere else in Italy, Florence is famous for its many restaurants that have been around for generations. Celebrating tradition and honoring authentic Florentine cuisine, these restaurants are unique experiences and must-visit while in Florence.
So join us in this adventure through time: keep reading to discover the oldest restaurants in Florence!
Ristorante Buca Lapi
Buca Lapi (Via del Trebbio, 1r) is nicely nested in the charming basements of a beautiful Renaissance palace, Palazzo Antinori. Over 100 years ago the Antinori family opened a trattoria and hired Orazio Lapi as the “tavern keeper.” As the wine cellars were underground, they were known as a hole or buca in Italian. And so the family decided to call the trattoria after Orazio Lapi – Buca Lapi.
Buca Lapi has been a favorite among foreigners ever since it opened. Especially among the more glamorous and even royal. In fact, Grace Kelly had a nice time here in the 1960s. So put on your best outfit and catch some leftover stardust at this Florentine institution.
A short walk from Ponte Vecchio, Il Latini is hidden on a little side street. It could easily be missed except for the long line of both Florentines and foreigners waiting to enjoy a feast. As you enter, do yourself a favor and look up for a unique view – prosciutti hanging from the ceiling alongside chandeliers from the 1920s.
Although a bit touristy, this down-home trattoria has stayed true to its roots. Serving simple, delicious traditional Tuscan cuisine with a lively atmosphere and lots of history. Which makes it the ideal spot to try a perfectly cooked bistecca alla fiorentina. Also known as Fiorentina steak, one of the most famous dishes in the region. With its communal tables and sharing-is-caring attitude, Il Latini may not the best choice if you’re planning a romantic, intimate dinner. But you are sure to leave with unforgettable dining memories and perhaps some new friends.
Trattoria da Burde
If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, Trattoria da Burde is your place. Located a way off the usual tourist trail, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy authentic Tuscan specialties while rubbing shoulders with locals. And let us assure you, in case you were wondering, this experience is absolutely worth going out of your way.
Founded in 1909, it is now run by two brothers who have kept the decor exactly the same. The dining area is elegant, yet homey with beautiful wooden bins and shelves packed with wine from all over the country. In fact, the wine list includes more than 500 references. So you are sure to find something to your liking. When it comes to the food, we recommend trying some lesser-known Tuscan dishes such as Livorno-style cod, cacciucco (fish stew), or acquacotta alla maremmana (a vegetable soup topped with an egg – comfort food at its finest).
Antico Ristorante Paoli
Antico Ristorante Paoli is known for being an important meeting point for some of Italy’s most renowned intellectuals. The Paoli guest book has more than 1000 signatures of the artists, writers, and poets who visited throughout the years. Leoncavallo, Puccini, Marinetti, and Pirandelloare just a few of the illustrious guests.
One of the oldest restaurants in Florence, Antico Ristorante Paoli originally opened in 1827. And though it went through several renovations, much of the original decor is still intact. Don’t miss the Decameron-inspired frescoes and Cantagalli ceramics. The food here is proudly traditional, and the menu boasts all the typical Tuscan dishes. They are prepared with the freshest ingredients and with modern techniques.
Osteria dell’Agnolo (Borgo S. Lorenzo, 24) claims to be not only the oldest restaurant in Florence but in the whole world. According to legend it was founded in 1580. So when you visit this historic establishment, imagine Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo around a table chatting (or rather arguing) and enjoying a coppa and a bite.
Wondering what to eat in Florence? Osteria dell’Agnolo has all the traditional Florentine cuisine classics: Fiorentina steak, ribollita in winter, and some of the typical Tuscan wines such as Bolgheri and Chianti.
Eliana Ferrari doesn’t like to stay put. She’s traveled all around Europe, excited by every encounter with people, food, and art. How did she end up in Florence? She fell in love: with the magnificence of every corner, with Bolgheri wine, and with the famous Florentine wit (one Florentine’s in particular!).